Friday, May 02, 2008

Strawberry Festival

Thursday evening we were invited to the Rotary meeting at Whiteville where the pilots and crew were guests for dinner. The Mayflower balloon pilot spoke about the ballooning's history and the current event. We will have 23 balloons.

Friday morning we were out on the field by 5:15 am. Helped with the Energizer Bunny and the Hooter's balloon's. Laying them out on the field and getting the Hooter's balloon inflated. Our Strawberry arrived and we shifted over to get it inflated. It was the only balloon to launch.
There were television crews filming it's launch for live news. We hopped in the truck to chase. There were 3 men in the balloon. One was a parachutist and when they were around 7000 ft he jumped out of a perfectly good balloon. We had to pick him up and then chase after the balloon. It landed and the 5 of us packed it up. Back at the launch field the Bunny was ready to be packed. There were about 15 helping. It is so huge it has a cart on wheels to pack it in. Bob pushed the cart and I helped lift the heavy balloon into it. Very heavy and bulky. Bob then went to help with the Mayflower balloon as it was getting windy and needed held down. They were waiting for a bus load of school kids but they didn't get here in time so he helped pack it also. There was a champagne toast afterwards.

We rested the rest of the day and watched the vendors arrive and set up.
Real near us is the lawn mower racing track. Dusty..
Late in the afternoon all the balloonist's and crews were invited for "chicken bog". It is a chicken, rice and sausage dish. Topped off with strawberry shortcake. It was too windy to inflate for a glow in the evening.

Saturday morning was perfect weather. We got the strawberry ready to launch and only one passenger showed up. Ian our pilot said hop in Donna and away I went. Bob sticking his tongue out at me. He had to chase us by himself with our GPS helping. The other passenger turned out to be the mayor of Chadbourn. I didn't know it when I was telling him what to do to help on packing up after landing. He did provide us with a CD of the pictures he took while we were up. Thanks, mayor.
This is a shot of our motorhome on the field.

And this a beautiful morning shot with the mist hanging over the fields.

Back at the field we strolled around the vendors, got a shrimp burger for lunch. There was a parade that last more than and hour. This is the mayor who was in the balloon with me.

Ian our pilot was in the basket on this float.
How would you like to fill this shopping cart?
We then kicked back in the lawn chairs watching the action. At 4 pm we all were invited out in the country for a steak dinner around the pool.
The wind was still kicking and it didn't look good for the glow again this evening. Several balloons got up and glowed before dark. The Energizer Bunny was one of them. The wind kicked up when he was partially inflated and for a few tense moments it looked like he was going to sit on our motorhome which wouldn't have done either of us any good.
Fully inflated he weighs 17000 lbs. Lighter than air huh! Luckily they moved the truck that he was tethered too and that took him away from us.


Barbara and Ron said...

So you helped inflate the Hooters balloon. Hmmmm. I should have a good comeback for that.

Sounds like a blast and you didn't have to travel far to work. Great post.

Diana said...

Wow! Almost sat upon by a 17000 lb bunny! You guys sure are having an adventure.